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Federal Court Refuses To Move Line 5 Case To State Court

A federal judge has retained jurisdiction over a lawsuit involving the Line 5 oil pipeline that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer wanted moved to a state court.

The AP reports that the case "is properly in federal court," according to the judge's opinion, which also stated that the case was "under consideration at the highest levels of this country's government."

Line 5 operator Enbridge and the state of Michigan are in litigation over Michigan's withdrawal of the easement for the pipeline's operation, while Canada has officially invoked bilateral negotiations with the United States over the fate of the pipeline that brings oil and propane to the Midwest.

Last year in November, the Michigan Governor and the director of the state's Department of Natural Resources revoked Enbridge's easement for the operation of the twin Line 5 pipeline, citing repeated violations of the easement and the need to protect the Great Lakes.

Michigan's notice required Enbridge to cease operations of the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac by May 12, 2021. Enbridge ignored the notice and has continued to operate the pipeline. The company says that only a court and the U.S. federal government have authority to order Line 5 shut down. This is how the case ended up in a federal court.

"This is both a federal and international law issue," Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said this week. "Line 5 is vital, critical infrastructure which is operating safely and is in compliance with all applicable laws."

On the other hand, "Michigan's sovereign rights and duties regarding the use of our own lands and the protection of our Great Lakes are matters that belong before the state courts of Michigan," Governor spokesman Bobby Leddy said. "Regardless of today's ruling, we remain committed to getting the Line 5 dual pipelines out of the water as quickly as possible."

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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